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Week of April 10th: Lilly Ledbetter
Lilly Ledbetter, Advocate for Pay Equity Hometown: Jacksonville, Alabama Education: Jacksonville High School Years at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.: Nearly 20 Legislation that bears her name: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, signed into law by President Obama on January 29, 2009
Lilly Ledbetter served as a manager at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. plant in Gadsden, Alabama for almost twenty years. She received the top performance award and was the only woman selected to initiate the light truck production at the Gadsden Plant. Near the end of her career, she received an anonymous note informing her that she had been consistently paid much less than virtually all of her male coworkers over the years. She sued Goodyear and won a jury verdict of more than $3 million. But in 2007, in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against Ms. Ledbetter saying that she had waited too long to bring her claim, overturning her original jury award and bringing her case to an end.
Although Ms. Ledbetter saw no monetary awards for her fight against pay discrimination, her case prompted a campaign to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which ensures that other victims of pay discrimination have more than 180 days after their first discriminatory paycheck to file a complaint. The 111th Congress passed the bill in early 2009 and President Obama signed it into law on January 29, 2009. Ms. Ledbetter has testified multiple times before Congress and continues to travel across the country as an outspoken advocate for pay equity.
Ms. Ledbetter was born and raised in Jacksonville, Alabama, where she still lives today. She started working immediately after graduating Jacksonville High School, and her career spans more than thirty-five years. Prior to her tenure at Goodyear, Ms. Ledbetter worked as a manager for H&R Block and as an assistant financial aid director at Jacksonville State University, among other roles. She has been married to her husband Charles more than fifty years. They have two children and four grandchildren.